Well the season is back, and so is this wonderful series in which I attempt to preview Newcastle’s fate before every match. I’ve shortened it slightly so you all don’t have to read too much of my absurd writing, but do know that the Clout Meter is not going away and it never will.
To kick things off Newcastle are facing West Ham, two teams who are generally recognized as mid-table sides. Neither team has made any home run signings that would separate the sides a ton, so this should be a decent match-up to give Newcastle fans an idea of how good or bad the season could go.
What Newcastle have to do to win?
Last season for the first half of the season Newcastle's attack was nonexistent. By every measure out there none of the Newcastle forwards were performing well enough to even be considered threats. It did not help that Allan Saint-Maximin was unfit for a fair few matches and that because of injuries our only fit forward was Joelinton, but regardless the attack stunk. Newcastle had the pleasure of making Premier League history with the amount of defenders that scored for the club, and if Newcastle are relying on a similar strategy this season they are likely to get relegated.
Luckily for Newcastle ASM and Miggy started heating up towards the end of last season and the attack began to look competent as we neared the Premier League restart. During the restart Newcastle’s chance creation was good, but the finishing still was an issue. This is all good news ahead of the beginning of this season, and the news is accompanied by 3 signings that should help the Newcastle attack. They’ve added another solid winger in Fraser, a solid finisher in Wilson, and a fullback in Lewis who will offer more in attack than Danny Rose did.
If Newcastle can replicate the attacking prowess they showed at times last season they should be able to make this math interesting. If they are able to do that ANDDDDDD get the newer signings involved they could easily win this match.
The Only Player to Worry About
Last season this section became quite long because I was giving you updates on multiple players from both sides. This season I will try to stick to one for the opposition and that is it. It is so tempting to write about a lot of players, but people did not like that last year, and often times got mad at me for praising too many of their players (very weird flex).
Michail Antonio had an absurd run during project restart in which he scored 8 goals in 9 matches. This may have seemed like a fluke to some people, but his xG was 7.7 goals. This means that based on the chances he had, the positions he was in, and the shots he took, he should have scored a minimum of 7.7 goals. His tally of goals means that this was not a fluke and he genuinely should have scored 8 goals during the restart. Antonio,has been a solid player for West Ham, but this recent run of form ( even though it was months ago) should be a cause for some concern for Newcastle.
One Bold Predicition
Callum Wilson gets a debut goal. This match in theory should be quite open, and as long as Callum Wilson makes good runs he should have plenty of opportunities to score.
Additionally, Wilson is also an adept penalty taker, so if Newcastle draw a penalty he is likely going to be in the running to take it. I would bet on him scoring from open play rather than nabbing a penalty because Newcastle are not Manchester United. We don’t get free pens “just because.”
There’s also the fun fact that Callum Wilson has scored 7 goals in 8 matches against West Ham. So, if he could continue to do that, that would be cool.
The Elijah Newsome Clout Rating
The only relevant thing about West Ham is the fact that they play in an Olympic venue. They are a side that is less relevant to Londoners than teams that are not even in London like Manchester Unite, Liverpool or Manchester City. They have meh uniforms, meh players, and they for some reason blow bubbles before every match.
Clout Rating: An empty bag of Lays Dill Pickle Chips
Newcastle have quite a few players on the injured list. Dubravka and Gayle are nursign injuries sustained during preseason while players like Clark and Schar are nursing injuries they picked up during Project Restart. In terms of potential lineups it seems that Steve Bruce has stuck with a 4 in the back formation throughout the preseason and that likely won’t change anytime soon considering the lack of available center bacs at the moment. It is doubtful that Ryan Fraser makes an appearance due to him not having played since March, but Steve Bruce loves to surprise us. Wilson and Lewis, could be named starters due to Newcastle not having a proper left back outside of Lewis, and Joelinton missing a large chunk of the preseason.
West Ham Injuries: Manuel Lanzini (Knock)
Newcastle Injuries: Fabian Schär (Shoulder), Ciaran Clark (Leg), Dwight Gayle (MCL),Martin Dubravka (Ankle), Paul Dummett (Hamstring), Matty Longstaff (Thigh)
Projected West Ham Lineup ( 4-2-3-1): Fabianksi, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Bowen. Noble, Soucek, Fornals, Antonio
Projected Newcastle Lineup (4-2-3-1): Darlow, Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson
One Fun Fact to Say at the Bar
Newcastle haven’t won an opening day match since 2012.
Elijah’s Never Wrong Position
Newcastle and West Ham usually play a fairly open match, with both sides looking threatening at times. Unlike Newcastle West Ham have not done much to strengthen in key areas. They made the loan of Soucek permanent, but other than that they have not done much. There are still holes in their defense that Newcastle can exploit.
Both teams have had issues in the preseason with defending which could result in a lot of goals being scored between the two sides. As much as this matchup seems like it could be a win for Newcastle, it is still Newcastle. We have had slow starts the past few seasons,and historically are bad on opening day. A win is a lot to ask for so, I would expect us to walk away from this one with a draw.
West Ham 2-2 Newcastle